It’s the morning after and after a serious bout of painful pinching, I’m pretty sure that yesterday wasn’t a dream. Ron Hextall traded Vinny Lecavalier. A feat most had accepted as impossible, but Hextall pulled through and worked some Jedi mind tricks again.
On Wednesday afternoon, TSN’s Bob McKenzie broke the news that the Flyers had traded Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn to the L.A. Kings in exchange for a 3rd round draft pick and young forward Jordan Weal. The Flyers also retained 50% of both Schenn and Lecavalier’s contracts ($2.25 million of Lecavalier’s and $1.8 million of Schenn’s). Luke Schenn’s contract is up at the end of this season so in 2016-17 the Flyers will have that $1.8 million back.
As happy as Flyers fans were at this announcement, things got a bit better when McKenzie tweeted this:
Vinny Lecavalier’s agent Kent Hughes says it is his client’s intention to retire at the end of this season.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 6, 2016
That’s right, Lecavalier plans to retire, which means that $2.25 million is also coming back to the Flyers at the end of this season. Apparently it was a very important part of the negotiations that Lecavalier confirm that he would be retiring at the end of the season. Any team interested in Lecavalier would just be looking for a loan. In an attempt to end his career in a respectable way (playing), Vinny made sure that he would be given a chance by promising that he would retire. Although he could just … not retire, since there’s nothing in his contract forcing him to; Kings just have to trust him.
When Sam Gagner was sent down to the AHL,Hextall said that a deal could be in place that would clear cap space if Gagner manager to clear waivers and be successfully loaned to the Phantoms. Everyone thought that meant a deal for Gagner, turns out it was probably this one. In Dave Isaac’s most recent article on the trade, Hextall says that this deal has been shaping up for about a month.
“This had been going on for a while, probably a good three weeks here,” Hextall said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday night. “I lose track of time, but (Kings general manager Dean Lombardi) and I kept in regular touch. He’s always had a big interest in Luke Schenn. We talked about that way back. It’s been going on for a while.” – Isaac
In exchange for cap space, the Flyers got an AHL star in Jordan Weal. In 73 games with the Manchester Monarchs, Weal scored 69 (nice) points; 20 goals and 49 assists. The 23-year old is a top AHL player and Hextall is giving him a chance to prove he belongs in the NHL. Weal isn’t waiver exempt either, if Hextall wanted to send him down to Lehigh Valley, he would have to clear waivers; which most people seem to agree, he wouldn’t. So Weal stays. He is a restricted free agent at the end of this season, so if he does play well enough he could earn himself an extension.
Coaches and analysts seem to agree that Weal will do better in the East. Weal isn’t big, he’s skilled, he’s smart, but he’s not big. The West is full of big, heavy players.
Sutter considered Weal too small to be consistently effective against big West centers. Luke Schenn is experienced Dman in absence of Greene
— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) January 6, 2016
Scouting report on J Weal. It’s starting to be clear Ron is trying to build a skilled/fast team. Regardless of size pic.twitter.com/NQPbmY9BD0
— Kat (@KitKat_P) January 7, 2016
The new cap space now allows Hextall to play with some call-ups. Sam Gagner is waiting for his call to re-join the Flyers, but Hextall has a few more options than he did a while ago. Still can’t send Umberger down, though. Sending off a defenseman also allows Evgeny Medvedev to get back into the lineup, hopefully permanently instead of being a constant scratch. With all this cap space available now, we get to see how committed Hextall is to his plan for the organization. “We have a vision for where our organization is headed and we’re not going to deviate from that no matter where we’re at in the standings at the deadline,” Hextall said. “At the same time with where we’re at in the standings, of course, it’s going to have some impact on our thinking,” – Isaac
It’s a great deal for the Flyers and lets them make little changes to the lineup that could get them into a playoff spot. For the Kings, well, Luke Schenn could be a decent bottom three Dman for them or even better. Lecavalier is just looking for a chance to retire with some pride. Even the Kings GM Dean Lombardi knows that this wasn’t the best trade:
— jonathan davis (@westcoasthky) January 6, 2016